On June 30, 2017, Activision will release the Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy, which is excellent news for me at least two reasons: the date coincides with payday and I've been feeling nostalgic for the old Bandicoot. Excitement is my dominant emotion, but apprehension lurks underneath. This is the first Crash Bandicoot game in seven years (I’m excluding his appearance in Skylanders), and we're still uncertain of what the future holds in store for the series.
Crash needs a total reboot. I think that much was obvious since Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, which received criticism middling reviews because it offered little significant changes to the formula. Activision has tried to adapt the series to changing tastes, although it could never settle on which direction to go. As someone who replays the first three games every year or so, I agree. I mean, a part of me wouldn't change a thing about the series' gameplay, but the rest of me recognizes how much the platforming has aged.
Originally created by Naughty Dog, Crash embodies the studio's usual criticisms. It took something familiar and cliche, yet polished it to the company's standards; in this case, Crash Bandicoot had the power of the original PlayStation on its side. The game basically plays like Super Mario. Bros, if the linear level design was adapted to a 3D environment with some variety in camera angles. It was pretty cool at the time, and yet 3D platformers have clearly gone in a different direction. (Ironic, considering I just said Crash is like Super Mario Bros. in 3D). These platformers are expansive in design and tend to feel lived-in; they’re the exact opposite from the first three Crash games. Not too many have copied Crash's style, but I can imagine why since Super Mario 64 set a much bigger precedent.
Which brings me back to the present. With the help of Vicarious Visions, Activision is going back to series' roots, most likely to determine what fans love about the series. So, what will happen if this trilogy is critically panned or commercially unsuccessful? I can't imagine the latter, because prior to the trilogies announcement, we've been teased about the Bandicoot's return long before his cameo in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
And then there’s the question on the opposite end of the spectrum: what if critics love Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy? Would Activision take this as a sign to double down on the nostalgia? That’ll be great for someone like me, but I’m still wary of how long it will take before we begin thinking Crash needs another reboot.
The good news is, we don’t have to think about this right now. We can put it off for a little longer because the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is just around the corner, and it will probably take more time for an actual reboot to be released. And I for one, look forward to the Bandicoot’s return, even if his series is due for another crash and burn down the line.